Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Up on the roof

Looking down over the rooftops of Roquebrune Cap Martin showing the coastline and sea in the background.

One thing I do love about the south of France are the rooftops.
An aged tile on our roof.
Each of the old curved terracotta tiles is a piece of art decorated with varying colours and and lichen growth.
Some are newer than others and the old ones can appear quite grey.
My early views of the Cote d’Azur were from the Corniche, the highway through the mountains to Italy.
Travelling in and out of tunnels high above the small townships grouped along the sea’s edge gave spectacular views over the coast below. I knew then it was a place where I wanted to return.
Going up . . .
If you travel by train along the edge of the sea between Menton and Monaco, you will pass through a station called Cap Martin-Roquebrune. If you alight there, you will eventually see what I mean.
But first you will have to climb just under 600 steps.
All you have to do is turn your back on the beach below, cross the road outside the station and find the little signs indicating the way to the top.
Follow these steps up through the town – it is a delightful walk, especially if you stop from time-to-time to look around at the hidden squares, gardens and archways you encounter.
At the top you are rewarded with a magnificent view that takes in the bay – almost immediately below! – plus Cap Martin, the cape that separates Menton from Monaco, and of course the Tête de Chien (Dog’s Head), the hill that looms up directly behind Monte Carlo.
From the ancient fort, you can see Monte Carlo, the sea and the rail line that skirts the coast.
There is plenty to explore in and around the castle ruins, including the remains of a medieval garden.
The fort was obviously built to protect people from invasion from the sea as the hills behind it are even higher.
So the fort would end up indefensible from an attack from the inland.
Going down all those steps again can be hard on the knees but a relief for the lungs.
And once you reach the rail line again, you can take the underground passage below and keep on going down to the bay to cool off in the Mediterranean.



  1. Another place I have missed! I have got to go back! We might have time to do that this year. No big plans this year. But if we do, we are using your blog to check out all these lovely places you have been presenting.
    We will expect more delicious photos this year Jan!